There's sure been a lot of chatter lately about the ladies of the United States Senate and these dinners they have together. Earlier this week, at the Atlantic Ideas Forum, Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said the 20 women senators share a meal about once a month.
"Well, we went to my house...we had a potluck like in Minnesota," Klobuchar said of one of the group dinners. "Susan once actually sliced up a bunch of sweet potatoes," Klobuchar added. Collins nodded. "That's true," Collins said. "Maine potatoes, I'll quickly add."
But when Whispers asked Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., about the get-togethers, she made them sound a bit spicier than simply sitting around slicing sweet potatoes. "We all celebrated when Susan Collins got engaged," she said. Collins married Thomas Daffron in August of 2012. "In fact, I was responsible for buying her wedding night lingerie as our gift," Gillibrand added. The New York Democrat wouldn't give details about where she got the purchase or what it looked like. "I bought a beautiful piece, but no, I can't describe it because that's private," she laughed. "It was elegant, like Susan, she deserves something elegant and beautiful, exactly like she is."
More seriously, though, the dinners have helped with the partisanship problem, all three senators agreed.
Gillibrand pointed to specific legislation she worked on with her female colleagues across the aisle. "It's not surprising that it's Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski who are helping me on the sexual assault in the military bill, it's not surprising that it was Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski who helped me pass the 9/11 health bill unanimously," Gillibrand noted. "It was Susan again leading the charge on Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal."
Whereas Collins made a broader note. "But -- but the point actually is a serious one and that is that those dinners have forged bonds of friendship and trust among the women senators," Collins argued. "And in times of crisis such as the shutdown, that [has] been very helpful."